Plano Profile Magazine Interviews William Manchee
edited: Saturday, December 01, 2007
By William Manchee
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2007
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Act Normal, A Stan Turner Mystery by Britney Porter
Dallas settings add realism for William Manchee's series
Under the Tarizonian Repopulation Project, American children are abducted by aliens and transported to the planet Tarizon in exchange for advanced technology. Stan Turner discovers the government’s covert operation when his son Peter is abducted by the aliens. The CIA then recruits Stan, a prominent lawyer in Dallas, to defend a woman named Charlotte Wenzel, who is accused of murdering her husband and children. In defending the woman, Stan is instructed to keep the government’s treaty with Tarizon a secret, to keep his son’s abduction a secret, and begrudgingly, to “act normal.”
Plano author William (Bill) Manchee has released volume 8 of the Stan Turner Mystery series, Act Normal. The sci-fi legal thriller explores three cases: the Charlotte Wenzel murder case, a money embezzlement case in Waco, and an arson-murder case involving a local scientist with ties to TI.
“There are usually two or three stories in a Stan Turner Mystery and most of them are inspired by old cases,” said Bill, a lawyer in Dallas for 30 years. “I do that to make it more realistic.”
The author’s first six books in the Stan Turner Mystery series are strictly legal mysteries. Bill eased into science fiction with his book Cactus Island, volume 7. “Writing is very competitive, and the only way to really get noticed is if you come up with something unique,” he said. “I haven’t seen very many science-fiction, legal mystery books out there.”
Bill enjoyed writing his last two science-fiction novels so much that he’s introducing a series spinoff called the Tarizon Trilogy. “It will be the story of Peter’s life on Tarizon. There’s going to be a civil war that he gets involved in.”
The books will be “straight sci-fi,” no legal cases, and the author is looking forward to the challenge. “You have to create everything from scratch. It’s fun to create the existence and history of a planet. You create a whole world for your characters.”
But Bill may not be able to control his characters’ destiny. “I’m an organic writer,” he said. “It’s living the story. It’s where you have an idea of a few things that are going to happen, but the characters take over. They run the story. They have certain temperaments and dispositions and you have to follow them.”
Some of those temperaments and dispositions, Bill picks up from his own family. “My kids are in most of my books, as far as their character and manners,” he said. “As a writer, you use all your experiences. I had a female attorney who was the persona that I used for Paula’s character,” he added.
Paula is Stan’s law partner. Every other chapter in Act Normal is told from her perspective. The narrative moves smoothly between the two lawyers. Said Bill, “I was trying to do something different. I thought it’d be good to have a female perspective. It added another dimension to the story.”
Bill’s personal story begins in southern California, where he’s from originally. In the late ‘60s, he married his high school sweetheart, Janet, and they’re celebrating 40 years this month.
The UCLA, political-science major moved to San Diego in 1969 to attend the University of San Diego School of Law. After a brief duty in the United States Marine Corps, Bill moved to Plano and transferred to SMU Dedman School of Law.
In his spare time, he dipped his hands into politics and was active in the Republican Party, becoming Collin County Chairman from 1974 - 1976, when the party elected its first county officials including the sheriff, justice of the peace, and county commissioner.
After graduating from SMU law school and receiving his Juris Doctorate degree, Bill began his practice in 1977. Today, he and his son Jim office at Manchee & Manchee, L.L.P. in Dallas.
Act Normal is Bill’s twelfth published novel. His first dawned in ‘95 called Twice Tempted, and since, Bill has vowed to write a novel every year. “It is a personal challenge,” he said. “When I began writing, my first publisher went broke, so I spent a year getting the rights back to the book. I was very discouraged, so I started a publishing company called Top Publications.”
Top Publications (www.toppub.com) has published more than 60 books and boasts a client list of 35 authors from across the country.
“I knew that if I self-published, I would never get the credibility necessary to be successful,” Bill continued. “We’ve had some successes. As a matter of fact, we’ve had a couple of Agatha winners and we’ve published an Edgar nominee.”
The Agatha Award is named after best-selling mystery writer Agatha Christie, and the Edgar Award, presented by the Mystery Writers of America, is named after Edgar Allen Poe.
“One of the driving reasons I set up a publishing company was so that I could make the statement that I’m going to write a book every year. Most authors can’t say that because their destiny is in somebody else’s hands. But I want to control my destiny.” For more information on Bill Manchee, visit